Signal app

Several Signal employees have emphasised on the company’s lackadaisical approach for tackling various misuses by extremists which can make the app vulnerable to abuses.

Ever since WhatsApp issued the new modifications in its privacy policy, it has created a huge outcry in the social media world. More and more people are now increasingly becoming aware of their data security and the way it is being ‘used’ or ‘misused’ by various messaging platforms. Amid all these concerns, when people were criticising the new policies of WhatsApp, Signal became quite popular. The popularity of Signal achieved heights especially after a tweet by Tesla Chief Elon Musk in which he asked people to shift to Signal for communication.

Thereafter, Signal has continuously remained at the top of  various app stores in over 70 countries across the world, particularly because of the encryption protocol developed by the application. Basically, Signal runs as a non-profit organisation and is highly dependent on funding done through donations and aspires to add 100 million users to its base in near future. Along with this, the messaging app also has a financial backing from WhatsApp’s former co-founder Brian Acton in the form of a $50 million loan.

According to a report published in ‘The Verge’, “Signal App has crossed more than 40 million users globally. According to the company, this could possibly be because of its adherence to the promotion of an end-to-end encryption policy without any commercial motive.”

Serious policy concerns:

With great power comes great responsibility and it seems that there is a considerable drift inside the company regarding the future of the application. As per the report in ‘The Verge’, several employees have raised red flags regarding the company’s casual approach towards various policy concerns. These people have also emphasised upon the company’s lackadaisical approach for tackling various types of abuses and misuses by extremists and uncanny elements that can make the app vulnerable.

Also, Signal app is reportedly working on providing signing options to the users where they can easily sign into the app using a username instead of giving their phone numbers during the signing in process. According to the company this strategy will strengthen its position on privacy policy while growing its reach amongst the users. In the hindsight, employees have cautioned that this could easily enable abusers to create fake profiles and impersonate genuine users, which eventually can lead to the misuse of the platform.

Recently Signal has also added a group link feature to its app, which is quite common in the world of messaging applications as it is used to create groups and can add up to 1,000 people by sharing a link of the group on different platforms. However, the important point to note here is that Signal works on an end-to-end encryption policy, so it simply does not have an access to the group’s title, members name and image and content being shared on the group. 

During the Capitol Hill riots in the United States, many in the company grew wary of such a feature and policy regarding it. They believed that this feature can indeed be misused by extremists and anti-social elements to instigate hundreds of people through misinformation, simultaneously igniting violence and raising serious concerns on law and order.

Company’s response to the issues:

To this, the company’s response was quite unusual as it has affirmed that as and when such problems arise, it will take substantial steps at the moment. Also, Signal has reiterated that as of now, there hasn’t been any serious and imminent threat of such mayhem through the app. Signal CEO Marlinspike has also expressed that the company as of now does not require any content related policy as it does not have any access to user’s data and information per say.

Meanwhile, Signal is also developing options for payments in their application which will explore cryptocurrency usage. Adding to this, the app also has no strong policies to tackle any sort of abuse on the platform.

Hence, the major concern among Signal employees is to build strong policies for the protection of users present on the platform otherwise it could bring negative publicity to the app. Otherwise, the failure of the application will lead to adverse effects and can also affect encryption technology developers in the long run ahead.

By Team

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